Colorado is home to 23 different species of mice. Luckily, homeowners only need to worry about 2 of these species gaining entry indoors. The deer mouse and the house mouse are the most common species of mice found in homes along the Front Range. Both species can cause illness and all infestations should be treated promptly.
Deer mice are almost always found in the mountains and foothills of Northern Colorado but that is not always the case. These rodents range from grey to brown, depending on age. Consequently, it can be difficult to distinguish a deer mouse from a house mouse. The belly of the deer mouse is always white and the tail is clearly bi-colored. As a result, these rodents are considered dangerous because they may carry a harmful virus.
Most noteworthy, deer mice are the carriers of the most deadly virus afflicting residents of Colorado, the Hantavirus. Hantavirus begins with flu like symptoms. Consequently, respiratory distress follows within a few days. Especially relevant is the fact that Colorado has the second highest reported cases of Sin Nombre (a deadly strain of Hantavirus) with New Mexico coming in at first place. There has yet to be a vaccine, a specific treatment or a cure. As a result, death follows in about 40% of cases. Most noteworthy, every mouse infestation should be treated as it is deer mice and proceed with caution.
- House mice and deer mice have very similar habits
- They build nests in protected areas inside the home. Their nest building materials can consist of insulation, cotton, paper etc. When finished, the nests are about 4″ in diameter
- They are both omnivorous, which means they feed on a wide variety of foods
- These rodents tend to hoard food in hiding places such as wall voids. As a result, this stored food can attract new pests such as moths and beetles. Baiting and trapping can also prove more difficult when mice hoard food
- They both contaminate food, damage property and spread disease. In addition to spreading disease, mice can also increase the risk of fires when chewing through electrical wiring
- Deer mice can produce up to 70 young per year indoors. House mice come in second at 50 young per year
Signs Of An Infestation
- Droppings – Generally found along baseboards, in garages and the pantry
- Gnaw Marks – As a result, you may notice sawdust around baseboards, doors and kitchen cabinets
- Damaged Food products – Check stored food for tears in packaging. Never store food in the garage, as this attracts mice
- Nesting Sites – These rodents commonly nest inside walls. They will also inhabit other undisturbed areas of the home. Check closets, garages, basements and storage places
Diseases Transmitted By These Rodents
- Rat Bite Fever
- Leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease)
- Rickettsial Pox
If You Need To Clean Up A Mouse Infestation, Please Protect Yourself!
- Wear gloves and a mask
- Thoroughly soak the site of infestation with bleach water
- Never vacuum, sweep or dust the site
- In conclusion, remember to wash all protective gear and take a hot shower with soap and water when finished cleaning up
For more info on the Hantavirus, please visit here.
Mouse infestations are a year round problem here in Colorado. If you believe your home or office has a mouse issue, don’t hesitate to contact me.
- Deer Mouse (top)
- House Mouse (bottom)